FX Launches New Cable Channel, Touts "Fearless" Development Slate
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
At the FX upfront programming presentation Thursday, network chief John Landgraf officially announced plans to launch a new, younger-skewing network called FXX in September.
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The new network joins FX and FXM (formerly the Fox Movie Channel) in Fox Cable Networks' suite of channels and will officially launch on Sept. 2. The channel, which Landgraf says will target adults 18-to-34 who love "outrageous characters" and "big laughs," will be bolstered by existing FX comedies It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League and Legit, all of which will now air on the new channel. (In making the announcement, Landgraf officially ordered a second season of Legit, a 10th season of Always Sunny, and a fifth and sixth season of The League).
Also moving to FXX is the late-night talk show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. The show will expand to air five nights a week beginning in the fall. Like FX, the new channel will also air repeats of acquired programs — including Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, Sports Night and Freaks and Geeks — as well as such films as The Hangover Part II and other blockbusters.
But Landgraf says the new channel won't dilute the efforts of FX's home base. Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story will return in the fall, and on Thursday the network renewed Justified for a fifth season and touted its newest drama The Bridge. Set on the border between El Paso and Juarez, The Bridge tells the story of two detectives (Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger) who must work together to hunt down a killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. The series, created by Homeland executive producer Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid, will launch this summer.
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Other drama projects in development include Tyrant, from Homeland executive producer Howard Gordon and Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee, and The Strain, a horror drama written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) that offers a "biological" take on the myth of vampires. Both pilots shoot this summer, but the productions have already assembled writing staffs to map out first seasons.
FX is also expanding into limited-run series. The first will be an adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Fargo written by Noah Hawley and executive-produced by Joel and Ethan Coen. The 10-episode miniseries, which will follow a new case and new characters inspired by the film, will air in spring 2014.
Other limited-run series in development include Mayflower, a look at the Puritan settlers at Plymouth Colony from executive producers Gil Netter (Life of Pi, The Blind Side) and Paul Giamatti (Sideways, John Adams); Grand Hotel, a story about luxury Paris hotel under terrorist attack from Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty); Mad Dogs, Shawn Ryan's adaptation of a British miniseries about a reunion of old friends that turns dark; and Sutton, a look at Willie Sutton, the most prolific bank robber in American history, from producers Michael De Luca (Moneyball, The Social Network) and Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways). The network also hopes to make FXM a home for original miniseries.
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To complement Archer, Wilfred and Louie, the latter of which Landgraf said would return in May 2014, FX also touted its original comedy development, some of which may end up on the new FXX channel. Potential new series include Charlie Kaufman's How and Why, the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is clueless about life, and Chozen, an animated about a white rapper, recently out of prison, who uses his new survival skills in his quest for redemption. Written by Grant Dekernion and produced by Danny McBride and the team behind Eastbound & Down, the potential series will be voiced by Saturday Night Live's Bobby Moynihan, Michael Pena, Hannibal Buress, Kathryn Hahn, Nick Swardson and McBride.
In total, Landgraf eventually hopes to have more than 20 original series across the three network and said the new suite of channels will play into the larger FX brand's new tagline: "Fearless."
"Whatever their age, viewers today are opting for the extraordinary level of quality, boldness and originality that only cable television provides," Landgraf said. "That means they've increasingly stopped settling for the sameness of broadcast TV and its many basic cable imitators, which endless try to sell the same tired, old product just relabeled and dressed up in a new package."
Will you watch FXX? Which of the series in development sound interesting to you?